There's a new superhero in town and he's not green like Hulk or hairy like Wolverine or chic like Batman. He's rather tasty and refreshing — and educationally enriching.
Let's call him Lemonhead the Avenger, who's on a mission to save Houstonians from humid summer days and teach kids what it takes to run a successful business.
Though not the official spokesperson of Lemonade Day, an army of Lemonheads were seen on the scene at Lemonade Day's Best Tasting Contest Saturday morning at CityCentre, where a friendly commingling of kids-on-a-mission and more than 2,000 runners participating in the Green 6.2 10K morphed the plaza into a high-spirited hot spot.
Forty-eight Lemonade Day teams put up their sales stands and competed for Best Tasting, Most Unique and Healthiest tangy beverage, in preparation of Lemonade Day Houston this Sunday.
These ambitious entrepreneurs may be small, but they can call up quite a boisterous holler when attempting to muster up business.
What's inventiveness, business savvy and branding without taste? That's just what Maria Maldonado and Itzi Castillo considered when crafting their signature recipe.
The duo scooped the coveted trophy for Best Tasting Lemonade. Even Lemonhead was juiced about their achievement.
Who put lemongrass in my lemonade? Right, that would be Best Tasting second prize-winner Richard Wong, who wanted to create a sophisticated recipe to inspire some of the culinary giants at the event — like judges Paul Petronella of Paulie's and Kevin Strickland of Ziggy's — to pick up his ideas for their own restaurants.
A spoonful of sugar may have worked for Mary Poppins, but that just wasn't special enough for lemon master Kaitlin Nunez, who thought that a dash of cinnamon — not too much, not too little — would add that perfect je ne sais quoi to her zesty beverage.
It worked: Her lemonade recipe took first place for Most Unique and earned the respect of Amegy Bank CEO Steve Stephens.
High five? Sure, that's a start. We expect this savvy entrepreneur to make quite a splash on Lemonade Day.
Healthiest lemonade is best when it makes you feel good. That's the lesson learned from Veronica Ibarra, Isabella Oravananos and Sofia Ibarra, who took home second place for Healthiest lemonade. Their "cocolade" did away with artificial additives and opted for the natural sweetness of coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes.
For an additional $5, customers could receive "The Experience," a VIP package which included the beverage served in a whimsical plastic pineapple, a comfortable spot in a lawn chair and a cooling treatment with fans and water mist.
JP Ibarra, Alejo and Patricio Oravananos are no Lemonade Day rookies. This was not their first citrus rodeo, and as such, they put their marketing thinking caps on to attract a new clientele.
When they realized that athletes competing in the Green2Green fun run would be onsite, the trio morphed their refreshing concoction into a sports drink, mixing up their secret recipe with Gatorade to appease this new target demographic.
That idea earned third place for Most Unique.
It was up to a panel of judges to look past adorable smiles and make the tough decisions: Who had the best tasting lemonade? Who prepared the most creative beverage? Whose was the healthiest?
George Mueller, vice president of Imperial Sugar, has been an avid supporter of Lemonade Day since the event's inception.
Alongside the running Lemonheads, children weren't shy to join in the 1K fun run. At least there was absolutely no danger of going thirsty, despite the sunny, warm weather and high demand for drinks.
The culinary genius of these little entreperneurs was put to the test. How would they differentiate their potation from the rest?
From blueberry lemonade (pictured here) filled with potent antioxidants to an exotic melange of strawberries, basil and mint — one team even crowned its beverages with whipped cream and sprinkles — these drinks could give Houston's most sought-out mixologists a run for their money.